No rising juniors in Howard County, Maryland, will be required to change schools next school year, because a Board of Education work group decided Thursday to keep students where they are for the last two high school years amid a redistricting plan that will send thousands of students to different schools, the Howard County Times reports.
Howard schools Superintendent Michael Martirano presented a proposal in August to move nearly 7,400 students in a comprehensive redistricting process to combat school overcrowding, address inequities in the distribution of students affected by poverty, and establish a road map for a new high school in Jessup.
Many parents in the district have expressed dissatisfaction with the redistricting plan in general, as it has been pointed out that despite a reliance on balancing out the district’s schools in terms of the socioeconomic status of families, the proposed changes have led to a de facto desegregation based on race.
The compromise to keep busing juniors and seniors to their current school comes with added costs, and the work group passed an amendment that will require parents to explicitly opt in to keep their juniors and seniors at their current school. A motion to allow students who currently walk to school to stay put, however, was defeated but might be brought up at a later date, the paper noted.
The most pragmatic issue the district faces is overcrowding. If the reshuffling doesn’t happen by September, 10,000 students across grade levels would attend a school at 120 percent capacity or above and 21,000 would attend a school at more 110 percent capacity, one board member told the work group.